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Serbia & Montenegro 0-1 Holland
Sunday, 11 June 2006




Holland's Arjen Robben
Robben was the tormentor-in-chief
Holland opened their World Cup campaign with a hard-fought Group C victory over Serbia & Montenegro in Leipzig.

Chelsea striker Arjen Robben scored the only goal after 18 minutes, sliding the ball under Dragoslav Jevric following a flick-on from Robin van Persie.

With Robben always probing and Wesley Sneijder running the show in midfield, the Dutch were coasting at half-time.

And despite a more upbeat display from Serbia & Montenegro after the break, Holland were good value for their win.

After a cagey opening in a sun-drenched Zentralstadion, Serbia & Montenegro had the first decent chance on 12 minutes.

Predrag Djordjevic found space on the left flank, cut inside and slid the ball into the Dutch area, but Mateja Kezman and Savo Milosevic got in each others' way.

Shortly afterwards, former Aston Villa striker Milosevic shot tamely at Edwin van der Sar when through on goal.

But it was the Dutch who took the lead, Arsenal's Van Persie flicking the ball through for Chelsea's Robben to tuck it beneath the advancing Jevric.

606 VIEW
CB

Moments later, a pumped-up Robben stung Jevric's hands with a swirling left-shoot shot as the Dutch began to enjoy themselves.

However, Serbia & Montenegro continued to threaten, Predrag Djordvejic whipping in a cross only for Kezman to head wide on 28 minutes.

And two minutes later, Milosevic found space on the edge of the Holland box but volleyed straight at Van der Sar.

With Serbia & Montenegro pressing for an equaliser, the Dutch, and Robben in particular, were revelling in acres of space at the other end.

Serbia & Montenegro's Savo Milosevic
Serbia & Montenegro striker Savo Milosevic had chances

Robben just missed the target with a low, curling shot on 35 minutes before bursting into the area and having a shot charged down.

Ognjen Koroman replaced Nenad Djordjevic just before half-time and made an immediate impact, capping a surging run from midfield with a vicious shot that curled past the upright.

But it was the Dutch, with Sneijder pulling the strings in the middle of the park and Robben always a threat, who led at the break.

Serbia & Montenegro replaced Milosevic with the 6ft 8in Nikola Zigic at half-time and attempted to ambush Holland immediately after the restart.

But Dutch striker Ruud van Nistelrooy, who had a quiet first period, had the first clear-cut chance, just failing to back-heel a Sneijder shot past a diving Jevric.

However, Serbia & Montenegro continued to get among the men in orange, and the dangerous Koroman tested Van der Sar with a dipping left-foot shot on 70 minutes.

Shortly afterwards, Zigic very nearly latched on to a Predrag Djordjevic free-kick before the irrepressible Robben dragged a shot just wide at the other end.

Van Persie then almost scored with a low, swerving free-kick that just grazed Jevric's right-hand post and Robben just missed with a similar effort two minutes from time.

The win was essential for Holland, who now face the dangerous Ivory Coast on Friday and Argentina next Wednesday.

Serbia & Montenegro, meanwhile, will have to perform some death-defying feats to advance to the second round.


Serbia & Montenegro: Jevric, Dragutinovic, Gavrancic, Nenad Djordjevic (Koroman 43), Krstajic, Duljaj, Stankovic, Predrag Djordjevic, Nadj, Kezman (Ljuboja 66), Milosevic (Zigic 45).
Subs Not Used: Basta, Dudic, Ergic, Ilic, Kovacevic, Stojkovic, Vukic.

Booked: Stankovic, Koroman, Dragutinovic, Gavrancic.

Holland: Van der Sar, Heitinga, Mathijsen (Boulahrouz 86), Ooijer, Van Bronckhorst, Sneijder, Van Bommel (Landzaat 60), Cocu, Van Persie, van Nistelrooy (Kuyt 69), Robben.
Subs Not Used: Babel, De Cler, Jaliens, Kromkamp, Maduro, Stekelenburg, Timmer, Van der Vaart, Vennegoor of Hesselink.

Booked: Van Bronckhorst, Heitinga.

Goals: Robben 18.

Att: 37,216.

Ref: Markus Merk (Germany).

Fifa man of the match: Arjen Robben.

TRIVIA

Serbia & Montenegro's starting line-up was older than any of Yugoslavia's starting 11's at a World Cup.

Serbian striker Savo Milosevic won his 99th international cap and will become the first player ever to win 100 caps for Serbia & Montenegro/Yugoslavia if he plays against Argentina on Friday, 16 June.

The clean sheet kept by the Dutch was the 15th in Marco van Basten's 22 matches as coach. It was also the 10th successive clean sheet in competitive matches, extending the European record already held by the Netherlands. Holland's unbeaten streak in competitive matches was extended to 13, one match short of their record set between October 1971 and July 1974. The Dutch also brought an end to Serbia & Montenegro's 13 game undefeated sequence in competitive contests.



MATCH STATS: AT A GLANCE

POSSESSION

43 57
Serbia & Montenegro Holland

Serbia & Montenegro

  • 01 D Jevric
  • 03 I Dragutinovic yellow card
  • 06 G Gavrancic yellow card
  • 14 N Djordjevic
  • 20 M Krstajic
  • 04 I Duljaj
  • 10 D Stankovic yellow card
  • 11 P Djordjevic
  • 17 A Nadj
  • 08 M Kezman
  • 09 S Milosevic

Holland

  • 01 E Van der Sar
  • 14 J Heitinga yellow card
  • 04 J Mathijsen (86 K Boulahrouz )
  • 13 A Ooijer
  • 05 G Van Bronckhorst yellow card
  • 20 W Sneijder
  • 18 M Van Bommel (60 D Landzaat )
  • 08 P Cocu
  • 17 R Van Persie
  • 09 R van Nistelrooy (69 D Kuyt )
  • 11 A Robben

Ref: Markus Merk
Att: 37216


SEE ALSO
Serbia players angry over tactics
11 Jun 06 |  Serbia & Montenegro
Robben plots more Dutch heroics
11 Jun 06 |  Holland
Leipzig - Zentralstadion
03 Dec 05 |  Venues


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